Queens Graduate is First of 17 Siblings to Earn College Degree

TUESDAY, MAY 14, 2019
Contact: Ilene Greenfield
Director of Media Relations
973-278-5400, ext. 1-5122


Adam Shahaddah Karriem at Commencement

Adam Shahaddah Karriem had a bit of a delayed start on his post-secondary education, but once he got going, there was no stopping him.

Mr. Karriem returned to school in 2016 at age 32, quickly earning an Associate’s degree in Information Technology Management from Berkeley College. This May he graduated with a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and is already pursuing a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) in Management at the College.

“If you love it, you keep going,” Mr. Karriem said of his education. He said Berkeley College was the ideal place for an adult student, with classmates able to learn from one another’s experiences. “Everyone works off each other. You’re not just reading from a book,” he said.

The vibe at Berkeley is supportive and welcoming, he said, and he appreciates the smaller class sizes and convenient location in the heart of New York City. “Before I came to this school, I felt quite lost,” said the resident of Jamaica in Queens, NY. “I have gained family from my years here.”

He acknowledged mentors like Management professor Raul Mendez, PhD. “Dr. Mendez had an extreme impact on my life and gave me the confidence I needed,” Mr. Karriem said. “He was my first professor and was behind me every step of the way.”

As a Berkeley College student, Mr. Karriem served as President of the National Society of Leadership and Success, the Student Government Association, and DECA, an organization for emerging business leaders. He also worked in the Personal Counseling office on campus. 

“Adam is one of the most selfless, people-oriented individuals I know,” said Sarah Nickerson, a Personal Counselor at Berkeley College. “He is constantly looking out for those around him and is always working toward the greater good.”

Born the 14th of 17 children to one set of parents, Mr. Karriem is the first in his family to attend college. His 8-year-old daughter, Symphany, attended the Berkeley College Commencement ceremony on May 10, 2019, and has been with her dad each step of the way.

Mr. Karriem, who has spent a dozen years as a restaurant manager, is working and teaching computer science at the Vanderbilt YMCA in Manhattan, NY, while studying for his MBA. After the next graduation, he hopes to use his business acumen to open a restaurant and jazz club that will showcase street performers. He also wants to give back to the next generation of business students as a professor.

Adam Shahaddah Karriem

- end -

Photo Captions: (Top) Adam Shahaddah Karriem (second from right) sits with other graduates during the Berkeley College Commencement ceremony on May 10, 2019, at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. Mr. Karriem received a Bachelor’s of Business Administration and is pursuing a Master’s of Business Administration in Management at the College. (Above left) Mr. Karriem poses in his cap and gown during a Grad Salute celebrating degree recipients at Berkeley College New York. (Above right) Mr. Karriem embraces his 8-year-old daughter, Symphany, after the Commencement ceremony.

About Berkeley College

A leader in providing career-focused education since 1931, Berkeley College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and enrolls more than 7,000 students – including more than 350 international students – in its Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s degree and Certificate programs. Students can study in more than 20 career fields. Berkeley College is comprised of the Larry L. Luing School of Business®, the School of Professional Studies, the School of Health Studies and the School of Liberal Arts. The School of Graduate Studies offers an MBA in Management online and in Woodland Park, NJ.

Berkeley College has three New York campuses – Midtown Manhattan, Brooklyn and White Plains. In New Jersey there are four campuses – Newark, Paramus, Woodbridge and Woodland Park. Berkeley College Online® serves a global population. For six consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has named Berkeley College among the Best Colleges for Online Bachelor’s Programs and among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans. The website address is www.BerkeleyCollege.edu.